British Woman Convicted in High-Speed Car Crash Case - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

British Woman Convicted in High-Speed Car Crash Case

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It is a case of delayed justice spanning eight years and involving trips across the Atlantic, but the fate of a British woman charged in the death of a South Florida man was finally decided in a Broward courtroom. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the verdict.

WSVN -- It was early morning June 10th, 2006. A black Volvo sat crumpled along Commercial Boulevard. It had been speeding down an Interstate 95 off-ramp at an estimated 80 miles per hour.

Cpl. Richard Nardiello, FHP: "To entered into a curved ramp at that speed, is reckless."

The driver knocked down a utility pole and authorities say the car traveled 45 feet in the air before slamming into a tree.

Bryan Ahiwraj was in the passenger seat. Abigail Damoah was behind the wheel. Both were injured but Bryan's injuries were life threatening devastating his father, Michael.

Michael Shiwraj: "And I said, 'Bryan, I'm here, daddy's here.' He did not respond."

Carmel Cafiero: "Bryan died and while in the hospital, and Damoah was told she would be charged with vehicular homicide. She left the country and retuned to her home in England. But she eventually returned to the US and was arrested."

But a Broward judge reduced her bond and she was released.

Michael Shiwraj: "Nobody care less about what was going on here."

A month later, Damoah was arrested for prostitution in New York and she was deported back to England. She was eventually extradited and brought back to Broward. Damoah has spent the last two years behind bars waiting for trial.

Donald Felicella, expert: "In this area, we have where the vehicle struck the curb."

Damoah testified Bryan had been drinking and was driving until he got sick and told her to take over. Then she says he distracted her.

Abigail Damoah: "I put my eyes back on the road and the road had suddenly started to curve to the left, and I slammed the brakes on, immediately, and I don't remember anything that happened after that."

But prosecutors argued Damoah's driving constitutes a crime.

Christopher Killoran, SAO: "Hit into that tree so hard, so hard mind you that the car bounces back, that's how fast she was driving this car."

And the jury agreed.

Court: "The defendant is guilty of vehicular homicide as charged in the information."

Damoah's attorney says she has permanent injuries from the crash and she never tried to avoid justice.

George Reres: "Her intent was always to come to Florida, and face these charges, if required to."

At sentencing, Damoah said she was sorry.

Abigail Damoah: "I would like to express my deepest sympathies toward the Shiwraj family."

But Bryan's father was unmoved.

Michael Shiwraj: "Eight long, lonely, excruciating, angry, tearful, and sleepless years Abigail Damoah robbed me of my son."

Bryan's 8-year-old daughter, who was just a baby at the time of the crash, broke down reading a letter about her loss.

Amira Shiwraj: "When I started school I saw all the kids with their fathers, and that's what made me sad. So many kids asked, 'Where's your daddy?' and I didn't know what to say. So I just walked away. Abigail took my dad away."

Judge Barbara McCarthy sentenced Damoah to 12 years in state prison. Meaning she won't be going back to Britain anytime soon.

IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE:

Miami-Dade: 305-627-CLUE

Broward: 954-921-CLUE

E-mail: clue@wsvn.com

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